Look Out! – No Screens, Fences or Protection For Brooklyn Dodgers Players or Fans At Spring Training
Clearwater, FL, March 26, 1953 – Brooklyn Dugout and Fans Dodge Fly Foul Ball – George Shuba, Ben Wade and Coach Jake Pitler cover up. photo: International News
Ah, the baseball spring training of yesteryear.
Note the deluxe dugout and lavish seats for the players.
Behind coach Pitler, as the fans scatter, Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella tracks the foul ball which is headed into the stands. It appears that there are only a couple of hundred people in attendance for this spring training game. The fans sit in bleacher type seating with no backs
Today many spring training games attract thousands of fans in souped-up ballparks offering fancy amenities. Fans are also now “protected” from foul balls with an obstruction called a “safety net.”
To show you how much the game has changed, Dodgers starting pitcher Preacher Roe went eight innings and gave up seven runs! If a pitcher goes more than five innings nowadays in spring training that’s considered a marathon outing.
The Dodgers ended up beating the Phillies in 11 innings, 8-7. Home runs were hit by Dodgers, Jim Gilliam, Don Zimmer,and Bobby Morgan and Phillies, Smoky Burgess and Granny Hamner,
The Dodgers were having a great spring training and had a 13-3 record after winning this game. The Dodgers had played only 16 games by March 26 because spring training was only half over. The season did not begin until April 14.
In 2019, barring the Athletics and Mariners opening series in Tokyo on March 20-21, the MLB season begins in the usually frigid month of March on the 28th.
Ridiculous isn’t it?
By the way, Brooklyn would go on to to win the National League pennant with a 105-49 record. They lost the World Series to the Yankees in six games.